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mikebdoss
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First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:17 pm

It took some time, but I got the Roku skill for Alexa set up today. Some issues with my Sharp Roku TV: 

The default language of "Alexa, open Hulu on Roku" didn't work for me, because my TV was called "Bedroom". I have an outlet for a lamp called "Bedroom" as well, so I used the Alexa app to rename the TV to "Roku TV". Alexa still required me to stay "Roku TV" instead of just "Roku" (usually you can use partial names). I ended up changing the name to "Roku", which is useful for Alexa, but not descriptive for my list of devices. 

I can say "Alexa, open Hulu on Roku", and it'll do it. This has worked for every major channel I've tested other than Netflix. If it try "Alexa, open Netflix on Roku", I get a notification on the screen that says "Use your Roku remote to access Netflix". Is this a licensing or permissions issue? Very strange. 

If I do something it's not expecting (like saying "Alexa, open broadcast TV on Roku", it'll say "You have Quick Remote enabled. Do you want to open it?". This is another remote app I had enabled, but don't use. I assume this is an Alexa issue instead of a Roku one, but it's annoying. 

I can't find a command to go to the TV's main menu. 

If I try to open the Video Poker app, Alexa says, "Hmm, I can't open it right now". Do channels need to have a switch flipped somewhere (on the developer side) in order to use them with Alexa?

Overall, a nice implementation, and not as awfully verbose as a lot of Alexa skills. 
 
blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:27 pm

mikebdoss wrote:
It took some time, but I got the Roku skill for Alexa set up today. Some issues with my Sharp Roku TV: 

The default language of "Alexa, open Hulu on Roku" didn't work for me, because my TV was called "Bedroom". I have an outlet for a lamp called "Bedroom" as well, so I used the Alexa app to rename the TV to "Roku TV". Alexa still required me to stay "Roku TV" instead of just "Roku" (usually you can use partial names). I ended up changing the name to "Roku", which is useful for Alexa, but not descriptive for my list of devices. 

I can say "Alexa, open Hulu on Roku", and it'll do it. This has worked for every major channel I've tested other than Netflix. If it try "Alexa, open Netflix on Roku", I get a notification on the screen that says "Use your Roku remote to access Netflix". Is this a licensing or permissions issue? Very strange. 

If I do something it's not expecting (like saying "Alexa, open broadcast TV on Roku", it'll say "You have Quick Remote enabled. Do you want to open it?". This is another remote app I had enabled, but don't use. I assume this is an Alexa issue instead of a Roku one, but it's annoying. 

I can't find a command to go to the TV's main menu. 

If I try to open the Video Poker app, Alexa says, "Hmm, I can't open it right now". Do channels need to have a switch flipped somewhere (on the developer side) in order to use them with Alexa?

Overall, a nice implementation, and not as awfully verbose as a lot of Alexa skills. 

Main Menu or Home Screen for Roku works for me with the following voice commands:
ALEXA, HOME SCREEN on Roku
ALEXA, GO HOME on Roku
TCL-TV Roku 55P605 (4K HDR & DV) | VIZIO SmartCast SB3651‑E6 Soundbar
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RokuTannerD
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:36 pm

@mikedboss

Thanks for the feedback here. You can see more about the current functionality of the Roku skill for Amazon Alexa here: https://support.roku.com/article/360017961074

To switch to the Antenna TV input on your Roku TV, try using the command, "...switch to Antenna TV on Roku". 

Feel free to PM me with any other thoughts or questions! 

Thanks,
Tanner
Tanner D.
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twiceover
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:35 pm

AWESOME.  Unfortunately all I get is "Something went wrong".
 
blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:42 pm

RokuTannerDB wrote:
@mikedboss

Thanks for the feedback here. You can see more about the current functionality of the Roku skill for Amazon Alexa here: https://support.roku.com/article/360017961074

To switch to the Antenna TV input on your Roku TV, try using the command, "...switch to Antenna TV on Roku". 

Feel free to PM me with any other thoughts or questions! 

Thanks,
Tanner

@RokuTannerDB
Where is the proper place to provide feedback and feature requests for the Roku Alexa Skill?
1. Multi-device support in the future with unique naming for each Roku Device and/or TV in network.
2. If multi-device simultaneous support is not an option or a longer delivery, an option in the Skill to enable/switch between multiple ROKU devices would be a good first step. (i.e. Enable MAIN ROKU for daytime usage and then have a voice command or ability to create a ROUTINE within Alexa app to switch to BEDROOM ROKU for evening control.
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blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:00 pm

twiceover wrote:
AWESOME.  Unfortunately all I get is "Something went wrong".

What command did you attempt? If trying to launch Antenna TV you have to ask ALEXA to switch to ANTENNA TV on <DEVICE NAME>. Alexa picked up the device names that I gave each of my Roku TV's when they were set up through my Roku account. (i.e. TCL-TV 55P605)  To switch to ANTENNA TV I can use TCL and it will execute. If I use ROKU as the support page suggests it will fail. Still testing more commands before I decide that changing name in Alexa to Roku will work best.
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mikebdoss
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:55 pm

RokuTannerDB wrote:
@mikedboss

Thanks for the feedback here. You can see more about the current functionality of the Roku skill for Amazon Alexa here: https://support.roku.com/article/360017961074

To switch to the Antenna TV input on your Roku TV, try using the command, "...switch to Antenna TV on Roku". 

Feel free to PM me with any other thoughts or questions! 

Thanks,
Tanner

Thanks! That worked for the antenna. Though I have a bug to report: When I said, "Alexa, switch to Antenna TV on Roku", the TV changed to the antenna channel I had open last, which was 11.1, airing TMZ Live. But Alexa responded "Tuning to antenna tv on Roku, now airing Archie Bunker's Place". That show was on channel 5.2, not 11.1. So I switched to channel 2.1 (airing Judge Judy), switched to Hulu for a moment, then gave the command again. Once more, the TV changed to channel 2.1 (the last channel I had selected, airing Judge Judy), but told me that Archie Bunker's Place was now airing. 

The problem is that around here, channel 5.2 is the network called "Antenna TV". So while the Roku TV was responding by switching to the antenna input, either Roku via Alexa or Alexa herself thought the TV had been tuned to the Antenna TV network and was telling me what was on. But the TV didn't go to that channel - it just switched to the antenna input and put the last channel on. It seems to be broken across the board. When I said "Alexa, switch to KCOP on Roku" (KCOP is channel 13.1), Alexa responded with "Tuning to K-COP on Roku, now airing Chicago PD". But my TV didn't switch to channel 13.1; it switched to the antenna input but didn't go to channel 13.1 - it again went to the last channel. 
 
blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:00 pm

Additional thoughts after some further testing on TCL Roku TV.

  1. I can PAUSE a stream with Alexa, but can not RESUME or PLAY the stream with Alexa once it is paused.
  2. FAST FORWARD and REWIND work with Alexa, but without the ability to PLAY or RESUME stream it is not very useful.
  3. I CAN NOT set the Volume to a specific number as indicated in the Amazon Alexa Support page. Using a specific number returns a 'Something went wrong' reply. Using Volume UP or DOWN moves the volume in increments of 10, which is not granular enough to be useful.

I added an inexpensive Broadlink device to my setup a few months back and added a Roku profile and linked to Alexa. It allows me to PAUSE, PLAY or RESUME a stream. It also allows me to adjust Volume UP or DOWN by a certain number. It does not allow me to specify an exact end number, but I can ask it to raise Volume by three (3) and it does. This allows for a granular adjustment that ten (10) does not with Roku Alexa skill. What I could NOT do with Broadlink device was OPEN Roku apps, SWITCH to HDMI inputs or SEARCH for content. I guess for now I will have to allow the two to co-exist and fill in the gaps that the other does not.

All in all, I am pleased with the initial capability of the official ROKU ALEXA SKILL. Hope to see additions and tweaks to the Skill as it progresses.
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blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:14 pm

mikebdoss wrote:
RokuTannerDB wrote:
@mikedboss

Thanks for the feedback here. You can see more about the current functionality of the Roku skill for Amazon Alexa here: https://support.roku.com/article/360017961074

To switch to the Antenna TV input on your Roku TV, try using the command, "...switch to Antenna TV on Roku". 

Feel free to PM me with any other thoughts or questions! 

Thanks,
Tanner

Thanks! That worked for the antenna. Though I have a bug to report: When I said, "Alexa, switch to Antenna TV on Roku", the TV changed to the antenna channel I had open last, which was 11.1, airing TMZ Live. But Alexa responded "Tuning to antenna tv on Roku, now airing Archie Bunker's Place". That show was on channel 5.2, not 11.1. So I switched to channel 2.1 (airing Judge Judy), switched to Hulu for a moment, then gave the command again. Once more, the TV changed to channel 2.1 (the last channel I had selected, airing Judge Judy), but told me that Archie Bunker's Place was now airing. 

The problem is that around here, channel 5.2 is the network called "Antenna TV". So while the Roku TV was responding by switching to the antenna input, either Roku via Alexa or Alexa herself thought the TV had been tuned to the Antenna TV network and was telling me what was on. But the TV didn't go to that channel - it just switched to the antenna input and put the last channel on. It seems to be broken across the board. When I said "Alexa, switch to KCOP on Roku" (KCOP is channel 13.1), Alexa responded with "Tuning to K-COP on Roku, now airing Chicago PD". But my TV didn't switch to channel 13.1; it switched to the antenna input but didn't go to channel 13.1 - it again went to the last channel. 

Good catch @mikedboss

I was wondering why it was announcing that Archie's Place and then Alice was playing!! But those were playing on Antenna TV, the broadcast channel, at the time. I though RENAMING the ANTENNA TV Input might work, but that changes the Custom Name while Roku still sees this input as ANTENNA TV.

Rather than saying switch to Antenna TV on Roku, try OPEN Channel x.xx on ROKU or LAUNCH Channel x.xx on Roku. I have found both of those work and it does not make an announcement of what is on the actual Antenna TV channel in your area.
Last edited by blade_005 on Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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twiceover
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:25 pm

So my problem earlier is that the device in Alexa is not "Roku TV", it is the name of my TV.  I changed the name in Alexa to just be "TV" to make things simpler and it started working.

"Alexa turn on TV" turned the TV on or off if requested

Can't launch Netflix.  I get a popup telling me to navigate to it with my remote.  Not sure what that is all about but is easily our most used app.  Other apps I tried worked fine.even "Alexa launch Pluto TV on TV" worked which I thought for sure she would barf on.

Can't set the TV to specific volume.
 
blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:31 pm

twiceover wrote:
So my problem earlier is that the device in Alexa is not "Roku TV", it is the name of my TV.  I changed the name in Alexa to just be "TV" to make things simpler and it started working.

"Alexa turn on TV" turned the TV on or off if requested

Can't launch Netflix.  I get a popup telling me to navigate to it with my remote.  Not sure what that is all about but is easily our most used app.  Other apps I tried worked fine.even "Alexa launch Pluto TV on TV" worked which I thought for sure she would barf on.

Can't set the TV to specific volume.

The Netflix Launch is a known issue that Roku noted on their Alexa support page. Same issue with volume. Can not specify a specific number. Only moves in increments of 10, which is not very useful if trying to make subtle adjustments.

NOTES:
Using your voice to launch Netflix or access Netflix content is not currently supported when using the Roku skill for Amazon Alexa.
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jeffrok
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:21 am

My Roku was named "Roku Living Room TV" or so something like that in my Alexa settings.. renamed it to just "Roku TV" and a lot of my command related problems went away.

Tanner, is there a way to set the TV to a specific numeric volume, such as "Alexa, set Roku tv volume to 12". 12 is a nice quiet level for me. Normal viewing for us is around 22 or so, or 30 if it's a quieter broadcast or one with heavy accents. It'd be nice to have it jump down or up with one command.

Thanks!
Yeah, I got some Rokus.
https://youtu.be/d1CSEeqWl10
 
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RokuTannerD
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:30 am

@mikedboss

Thanks for raising this. I've passed along your observation to our team to take a closer look. Feel free to follow up with me via PM if you have any other feedback to share. 

@blade_005 

Thanks for the feedback here! I'll pass this along to our team as well. If you have any additional feedback, send me a PM and I will share it with our team. 

@twiceover - I might suggest trying to remove/disable the skill from your Alexa app, then try setting it up once more. You can see more information and tips here: https://support.roku.com/article/360017961074-how-do-i-use-amazon-alexa-with-my-roku-streaming-device-

If that still isn't doing the trick, please send me a PM with your Roku account email address and the serial number of your Roku device from Settings>System>About and I'll follow up to help you directly. 

@jeffrok

That may not be supported currently, but I'll raise the suggestion with our team.

Thanks,
Tanner
Tanner D.
Roku Community Manager
 
blade_005
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:02 pm

FYI

I was able to get multiple Roku TV's working after reading through a few articles and figuring out what the LINK DEVICES option in Advanced Settings in the Roku SKILL will allow. It is not an elegant process to get set up, but if you are okay with specific Alexa / Echo Speakers or Alexa App on phone controlling specific Roku devices, you can have voice control of multiple Roku devices.

SETUP PROCESS:
  1. Go through initial process of ENABLING and LINKING Roku SKILL in Alexa app and select your first Roku device. Allow the process to run and the Discovery process to find your NEW TV DEVICE. You may be prompted to MANAGE and LINK DEVICES at this point which will allow you to select your Roku device and link specific Alexa or Echo speakers to this device. If you initially don't get this prompt you can access it in the Roku SKILL under SETTINGS -- ADVANCED SETTINGS -- MANAGE in TV & VIDEO. Your Roku device should now be linked to specific speakers in your setup.
  2. HERE IS THE LESS THAN ELEGANT PART. Once the first Roku device is setup, you have to DISABLE the Roku SKILL and then RE-ENABLE the SKILL to select another Roku device and go through the same Discovery and LINK process to specific speakers. This will have to be done for each Roku device. I did it for two (2) TCL Roku TV's. One downstairs and linked to downstairs speakers in Living Room and Den and to Alexa app on phone. The second TV in bedroom linked to Alexa device in that room. Initial testing has both responding to Alexa Roku Skill commands that are initiated from the specific speakers they are linked to.

Hope that helps out anyone that is looking to extend this capability to multiple devices.

CHEERS!!
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Netjera
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Re: First thoughts on Alexa for Roku skill

Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:46 pm

I love being able to control my Roku smart TV with Alexa.  I've been having hit-or-miss success with commands, however.  I couldn't find a list of all of the Alexa commands for Roku, so I just started trying everything I could think of.  Here's my results:

"Alexa, turn on Roku":  Works great!
"Alexa, turn off Roku":  Also success!
"Alexa, set volume to #": sets volume to the exact number.  "Alexa, lower volume on Roku": lowers the volume by 5 points.  "Alexa, mute Roku", :mutes the volume at its current level - Excellent!
"Alexa, switch to cable box/turn on cable box/launch cable box": Alexa responds with "OK" but nothing happens.  Sometimes a flag "Switching to cable input" is seen in the upper right-hand corner, but the TV never actually shows what's on the cable box.
"Alexa, launch Netflix on Roku": Doesn't work.  Known issue.
"Alexa, launch Boomerang on Roku":  Alexa responds with, "Hmm... I can't open it right now."
"Alexa, launch Relaxation on Roku": I have a channel called "Relaxation Music and Sound VIDEO" on Roku.  No matter which way I call for this channel, Roku performs a search instead of opening it.
"Alexa, launch the Great Courses":  I have my Great Courses account linked to Roku, and it shows up as a channel.  I had to set this up on the web.  This is different, I think, from the standard Great Courses channel, which asks you to subscribe to it.  I do not have that one installed.  When I try to launch my Great Courses account channel, the Roku shows a flag at the bottom of the screen telling me that "The Great Courses is not installed" and asking if I want to install it.  I'm pretty sure it's not actually seeing what I have installed, but rather looking for specific installations of things.
"Alexa, launch YouTube": Works great.  Cannot figure out how to get Alexa to pick a video and launch it, however.  Is it supposed to be able to do this?
"Alexa, launch Prime Video on Roku": Opens Prime Video.  Haven't investigated this further, because my account isn't set up yet.
"Alexa, launch Weather Nation on Roku":  Alexa responds with, "Sorry, I couldn't launch it."
"Alexa, launch Adult Swim on Roku":  Switches to the antennae.  Tells me what's on, but since I don't have an antennae, but a cable box instead, doesn't actually play anything.  I also have the Adult Swim channel installed, and it doesn't open that, either.
"Alexa, launch Google Play on Roku": Opens correctly.  Trying to find anything on the Google Play menu with Alexa, causes her to do a general search and return a list of results, instead of opening a movie on the Roku.
"Alexa, (go/go to/launch) Featured Free on Roku": Alexa doesn't switch from the home menu and says, "I'm sorry, I'm not sure how to help you with that."
"Alexa, (go to/show) My Feed on Roku":  Same results as trying to move from Home to Featured Free

I have many more channels, but this gives a good representation of the types of things I've been experiencing.  In a nutshell, Alexa can't actually navigate the Roku menu at all.  She can only directly access channels that are enabled, not necessarily loaded on home, and which are completely unique.  Channels such as "The Great Courses" which has three different version (account, channel, Great Courses plus) or channels like Adult Swim, which are available through more than one service, confuse her. 

So far, it seems that Alexa can power on/off the TV, open big name channels but navigate their selections or menus (It would be helpful if someone compiled a list of WHICH channels), change the volume and switch inputs.  Beyond that, it's still rather limited.  However, kudos for a great start.  Just being able to direct the TV in the dark is a major benefit.

Incidentally (and unrelated), has anyone figured out how to use the Amazon Echo as a speaker paired to a Roku TV?  I can't seem to find information on that anywhere.  Thanks!

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